Attitudes to ADHD have come a long way – but we still have further to go | Letters

There is thankfully more understanding of the condition than when my daughter was first diagnosed over 30 years ago, writes Judy Evans, while Cal Walters-Davies calls for more support and more positive coverage

How refreshing to see so much positive coverage given to the condition ADHD, coverage which helps to widen the understanding of and facilitate support for a disorder that is both challenging and potentially life-changing (ADHD services ‘swamped’, say experts as more UK women seek diagnosis, 13 January).

I wish the media had always been so enlightened. Over 30 years ago, my then 10-year-old daughter was diagnosed with ADHD, after many years of struggling to get an understanding and acceptance of her particular difficulties. At around that time, the disorder was considered by many in the media and general public as an “American” disease, with a great deal of scepticism attached to its validity as an illness requiring support.

In his Guardian column, Francis Wheen poked fun at what he described as “illness as euphemistic excuse” and “convenient props for people who are suffering from nothing more serious than the human condition” (Wheen’s world, 14 September 1994). I objected to his cynicism and you published my riposte on the letters page a week later. I’d like to think he wouldn’t write in the same tenor today – and that you will publish this letter too.
Judy Evans

• Your article corresponds with what we are seeing at Aberystwyth University, where I work as a study skills tutor (though I am writing here in a personal capacity). Many more students are seeking diagnosis and support for ADHD. The long wait for diagnosis results in increased stress and a negative impact on mental health.

As well as ADHD symptoms, the article could also have listed some of the strengths associated with ADHD, such as creativity, drive, versatility, problem-solving skills, the ability to “think outside the box”, and hyperfocus. A reader questioning whether they have ADHD would then perhaps feel more positive about the condition.
Cal Walters-Davies
Aberystwyth, Ceredigion

The GuardianTramp

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